Vt. Towns Rethink Emergency Response Post Irene

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Nearly eight months after Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont’s cities and towns continue to evaluate their emergency response systems.

Ripton’s Select Board has decided to create an inventory and database of the Addison County town’s resources – something that town officials hope will be updated often.

At a select board meeting earlier this month, town and rescue officials identified those areas of town most vulnerable to floods as well as other natural disasters.

The group looked at how Irene cut off nearby Rochester from the rest of the state for more than three days as it considered what resources would be available if Ripton were cut off for a similar amount of time. The town also discussed establishing neighborhood communication hubs with two-way radios, the importance of social media and the likelihood that the town would be without power.

Now, Ripton is charting alternative ways in and out of town in the event of another storm like Irene.

Town officials in Halifax, meanwhile, are asking whether their fire station is adequate to serve as that town’s emergency headquarters. And in Craftsbury, a town that wasn’t even that hard hit by the storm, residents are mulling the results of an emergency response survey.

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